Former Bantamweight Champ Renan Barao Meets Brian Kelleher at UFC on FOX 28

UFC Renan Barao
Renan Barao Credit: Dave Mandel/

Struggling former bantamweight champion Renan Barao will return at UFC Orlando (UFC on FOX 28) to take on Brian Kelleher.

The UFC on FOX 28 card continues to fill out. Alongside the likes of Mike Perry and Smilin’ Sam Alvey will be former UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao. He’ll face one of 2017’s feelgood stories in Brian Kelleher at the Orlando event. No main event has been announced for the card as of yet. The news of Barao vs. Kelleher was first noted by the Orlando Sentinel.

Barao (34–5 (1)) has been inconsistent since losing his 135lb title to T.J. Dillashaw in 2014. ‘The Baron’ had been one of the most feared fighters in the lower weight classes up to that point. However, he has gone 2-4 starting with his first loss to Dillashaw at UFC 173. Most recently, he dropped a unanimous decision to Aljamain Sterling at UFC 214 in July. That bout was contested at a 140lb catchweight after the California State Athletic Commission refused to license Barao at bantamweight. The Brazilian’s weight troubles in recent years have been well documented, and include a fainting spell that saw him forced out of UFC 177.

Brian Kelleher (18-8), meanwhile, put together one of the best stories of 2017. Compiling a 2-1 record in the UFC, the newcomer went from an unknown trying to win tickets to UFC events to fighting with the promotion seemingly overnight. ‘Boom’ submitted Iuri Alcantara in his debut at UFC 211. Kelleher was in turn submitted by Marlon Vera in the New York native’s sophomore outing. He finished the year strong however, with a TKO win over Damian Stasiak at UFC Gdansk. Not bad for a fighter trying to win tickets to UFC 205 just months earlier.

UFC on FOX 28 takes place at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida on February 24. David Branch vs. Yoel Romero, a key middleweight bout, is among the standout fights on the docket.